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Huryta v. Mental Health Board

United States District Court, D. Nebraska

March 5, 2015

ROCKY ALLEN HURYTA, Petitioner,
v.
MENTAL HEALTH BOARD, Respondent.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

JOSEPH F. BATAILLON, Senior District Judge.

This matter is before the court on Petitioner Rocky Allen Huryta's ("Huryta") Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus (Filing No. 1) and Amended Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus (Filing No. 7). For the reasons discussed below, the court will dismiss the petitions without prejudice.

I. BACKGROUND

A. State Court Proceedings

On October 25, 2013, a deputy attorney for Buffalo County, Nebraska, filed a petition alleging Huryta is a mentally ill and dangerous person. (Filing No. 13-1 at CM/ECF pp. 36-37.) A contested hearing was held on the petition on October 30, 2013, before the Mental Health Board of the Ninth Judicial District, Buffalo County, Nebraska ("mental health board"). Huryta was represented by counsel at the hearing. The mental health board determined "that Rocky Huryta is a mentally ill and dangerous person who presents a present danger to himself." (Filing No. 13-1 at CM/ECF p. 12.) The mental health board also determined the least restrictive course of treatment was an involuntary commitment to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services for inpatient treatment. (Id. )

Huryta was committed to Richard Young Hospital in Kearney, Nebraska, until December 2013, when he was discharged to outpatient treatment. (Id. at CM/ECF pp. 71-72.) On April 23, 2014, a deputy attorney for Buffalo County, Nebraska, filed an application to reconsider Huryta's level of treatment wherein the State sought to increase Huryta's level of care. The mental health board held a contested hearing on the application on May 1, 2014. Huryta was represented by counsel at the hearing. The mental health board determined, "the level of treatment will remain the same with medication management." (Id. at CM/ECF p. 1.)

B. Federal Habeas Corpus Proceedings

Huryta filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus in this court on January 22, 2014. (Filing No. 1.) On June 19, 2014, the court determined it could not effectively conduct its preliminary review of the petition because the petition was nonsensical and did not state any discernible grounds for relief. (Filing No. 6 at CM/ECF p. 1.) The court ordered Huryta to file an amended petition for writ of habeas corpus that clearly set forth his claims for relief.

Huryta filed an amended petition for writ of habeas corpus on July 10, 2014. (Filing No. 7.) Upon review of the amended petition, the court determined that it was also nonsensical, did not state any discernible grounds for relief, and did not set forth whether Huryta is "in custody." Accordingly, the court dismissed the case without prejudice.

Huryta filed a Motion for Reconsideration (Filing No. 10) on August 12, 2014. Liberally construed, he argued he is in custody pursuant to a civil commitment order issued by the Ninth Judicial District Mental Health Board, and the civil commitment is unconstitutional. Out of an abundance of caution, the court directed the clerk's office to reopen the case and serve the habeas corpus petitions on Respondent. (Filing No. 11.)

II. DISCUSSION

Respondent argues Huryta is not entitled to relief because he did not exhaust his state court remedies prior to filing his habeas corpus petition. For the reasons that follow, the court agrees.

As set forth in 28 U.S.C. ยง 2254(b)(1):

(b)(1) An application for a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of a person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court shall not ...

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